I wrote this book after my neighbors invited me to join in the restoration of a pioneer home nearby. I was intrigued by the historical information supplied by our township and the local public library archives about the Drake family and the history they made, literally, in my backyard some 180 years ago. But the information was sparse and as I wandered around the farm house and barn I couldn’t help but feel the gaps in the story; wonder what the original settlers felt and did, in those early years. Remembering that historians and archeologists prize outhouse sites for the bottles, dishes, china dolls and the like to be found there, I began imagining the artifacts two twelve year-olds might discover in the Drake’s first outhouse. Then I had Zach and Maddy make up the Drake family story by combining their ‘finds’ with the limited facts that have come down to us from those times.
This story shows how historical fiction comes to be written; how everyone has the right to look at antique objects and clothes and heritage homes and imagine the lives and loves of those who made use of them. I also hoped to show, as someone once said, that all stories are true and some of them actually happened.
At the end of the book, readers are challenged to think and discuss the story. But more importantly they are invited to write their own version of the Drake family pioneers. After all, I’m not the only one who can ask ‘what if?’
Upon request, I will provide a study guide for teacher and parents to maximize the reading experience with young readers. firstname.lastname@example.org I also do classroom visits and programs.
Tales From the Drake House Outhouse
Copyright 2010 Joe Novara
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